UK retailers not providing engaging e-commerce experiences – survey

15 Mar 2011

UK retailers’ websites are failing to meet consumer expectations for engaging e-commerce experiences, according to a new study from EPiServer.

The ‘Developing your e-commerce strategy: how to deliver what consumers really want’ study is based on a survey of 2,000 consumers and explores the online shopping features they look for in terms of overall web experience, browsing, buying and after-sales. The report also benchmarks how 25 top UK retailers measure up to these consumer demands.

The research finds that while retailers are ticking the boxes regarding the fundamentals of e-commerce, such as providing clear product images and effective search, they are not providing the engaging online shopping experience that consumers are demanding. It also maintains that the majority of retailers are also not taking advantage of social commerce, with many neglecting features like recommendations, reviews and social media sharing links.

The average score achieved by the retailers was 63pc, with the majority losing marks in the areas of value-added and social features. For example, while 88pc of consumers said user reviews were vital or important to their e-commerce experience, only 42pc of retailers provide them. While 80pc of consumers want recommendations based on purchases from other users, just 20pc of retailers have this feature.

According to the survey, 97pc of retailers have sites that are easy to navigate and 96pc have an effective search function. Retailers also scored well in other areas such as providing high quality images (96pc), immediate email confirmations (96pc) and swift product delivery (96pc). 

Something special while shopping online

However, many consumers revealed they are looking for something a bit special from their online shopping experience and it is here that UK retailers slip. Although 89pc of consumers said they want a pleasurable online experience and 84pc stated that a wide range of customer service options is important, only 63pc and 60pc of retailers, respectively, provide these. Elsewhere, only 68pc of retailers provide loyalty schemes, 35pc fail to display clear returns policies and only half provide the ability to compare products.

The survey also finds that retailers are generally failing to use social features that would give consumers the opportunity to involve their peers in the shopping process. Only one in five provide the option to share links or products via social networks and just 32pc of retailers feature blogs or articles.

“This research shows consumers are not receiving the experience they expect when shopping online,” said Maria Wasing, VP of Marketing Europe at EPiServer. “UK retailers need to develop their websites to provide more engaging, social features and content that will keep consumers on a site until a point of conversion or entice them to return if they leave the site. There are major challenges ahead for retailers in this fast-evolving digital age. The ones that tap into the power of the ‘social-web and social commerce’ to gain traffic, loyalty and revenue will be the ones that succeed.”

Article courtesy of